“Boys will be boys” is wrong

Lindsey Hecox

In the wake of Brock Turner’s early release from prison even though he was found guilty on crude sexual assault charges, the public has drawn attention from the complete disregard of the real crime that was committed throughout the event. Not only did Turner commit unspeakable acts to a helpless victim and get off the hook with a mere three months in jail, he set an example for other potential offenders by showing them that they might be able to get away with their actions and face few negative repercussions. The slap on the wrist he received for raping an unconscious young woman speaks great volumes about what could result in similar situations.

This event illustrates the problem in our modern society that can cause boys and young men to believe they have immunity from the consequences of their actions. You have most likely heard it said before that, “boys will be boys.” This phrase has been ingrained in our minds, repeated for decades by parents, teachers and other adults. It may seem like a harmless idea when it is an excuse attached to petty name calling or running wild on the playground. But if it is recited enough, it could have dire effects on whole communities, or in this case, our entire country. It isn’t morally right or fair to assume that boys cannot be held responsible for their actions in the same way that a girl would be. That very idea serves as an insult in itself, supposing that boys are not capable of conducting themselves in a responsible manner.

In June, Turner’s father, Dan, stated in a letter to the judge presiding over the case: “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.” Dismissing the fact that his son raped someone as getting “20 minutes of action,” Turner’s father brushed off Brock’s inexcusable criminal offenses as if they were nothing. Dan Turner blames the situation on the effects of “binge drinking and its unfortunate results.” Yes, it is very unfortunate that the victim was subjected to this life-altering event and received little justice for her pain and suffering.

The startling fact is that one in five female college students report being a victim of sexual assault. Possibly even more unsettling is the truth that this statistic doesn’t account for unreported offenses, which haunt the silent victims who carry just as much emotional, mental and physical damage.

What may seem like an innocent explanation for how your son, brother or friend may be acting, “boys will be boys” is a statement that will breed a lack of self-control and basic morals in our youth for generations to come. Because of “boys will be boys,” girls must learn from a young age to protect themselves wherever they go. As a common practice, boys and men are often instinctively taught that their actions can be excused solely because of their gender. If this phrase and mindset were not so widely accepted, it could be argued that rape and sexual assault cases would not be so prevalent among the college-age population. If it was not for the “boys will be boys” mentality, the young woman who fell victim to Brock Turner’s assault might have walked home safe and unharmed that night. Though we will never know, it is crucial to the fate of thousands of potential victims that we ditch this motto and start holding sexual offenders responsible for their actions to prevent such unspeakable incidents in the future.